The Independence Grand Gala at the National Stadium on Saturday will be an exciting celebration of Jamaica's musical culture, as the nation marks 49 years of Independence.
The Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Olivia Grange, who has responsibility for the Independence celebrations, says Grand Gala 2011 will celebrate the “nation’s creativity”.
Minister Grange said that all of Jamaica’s musical forms, including religious music, mento, Reggae, and dancehall, will be showcased in an exciting programme dubbed “Jamaica Rocks”.
“Jamaicans have come to expect an exciting Grand Gala programme as we reflect on nationhood, and we will deliver,” said Minister Grange.
The programme will feature traditional and popular singers, djs and dancers including two thousand dancers from 12 inner-city communities in Kingston, St Andrew and St Catherine. “It is one of the great joys for me to bring young people from various polarised communities together each year at the Grand Gala and this year I am very happy to see all the young people interacting, putting aside whatever differences there might be and focusing on Jamaica and the things that we all have in common,” said Grange.
The programme, which is divided into segments, will begin at 4:30pm with a pre-show featuring cycling events, acrobatics and a sound clash.
The official programme begins at 5:30 with ceremonies in music which will feature the combined bands of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, the Jamaica Defence Force, Band and Infantry of the JCF, the Boys Scouts Association, Girl Guides Association as well as the Boys and Girls Brigade performing together for the first time.
The Mounted Police, who delighted the crowd last year, are back again this year to perform a ‘spectacle on horses to the rhythm of Jamaican music’.
The religious segment, called Glory, will feature modern and traditional music and dance.
The programme also includes a segment tracing the evolution of Jamaican popular music and celebrating the spaces where Jamaicans have gathered to enjoy their music. Around the venue, there will be visual tributes to Jamaica’s musical forms.
Among those who will perform are U-Roy, Professor Nuts, Pinchers, I-Octane, Beenie Man as well as the Jolly Boys and Byron Lee & the Dragonaires.
“The Grand Gala is a family event and there will be something for everyone. We will give thanks and we will celebrate. It will be a rocking good time."
There has been heavy demand for tickets to the celebration, which is free to the public. Tickets are being distributed island wide. The gates to the National Stadium will open at 2 o’clock in the afternoon.